Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which a neutral third party or a panel of neutral third parties (called an arbitrator or an arbitration panel) acts as a judge and finder of fact. The process may or may not be conducted like a trial. Absent an agreement of the parties the arbitrator or arbitration panel has broad discretion in admitting or rejecting evidence and in dealing with other procedural matters. Special rules often apply. The American Arbitration Association has multiple sets of rules for cases involving different subjects and different amounts in controversy. Unlike a mediator who works with the parties to achieve a settlement, an arbitrator hears both sides and renders a binding decision on the disputes. The decision of the arbitrator or panel typically cannot be set aside in the absence of exceptional circumstances.

Before both parties can agree to arbitration, they must decide whether an arbitrator’s decision will be binding or nonbinding. In binding arbitration, the court will render an order reflecting the arbitrator’s decision. When arbitration is nonbinding, the arbitrator’s decision serves only as a basis for further settlement negotiations. Because the Family Code requires that a Judge enforce an arbitration award as to child custody and support matters, it is important to have experienced counsel in binding family law arbitration.

Attorney for Arbitration in Houston, TX

Are you considering arbitration for your divorce in Southeast Texas? You will want to contact [firm] for assistance in achieving the most favorable possible outcome to your case.

Houston lawyer Michael Sydow represents clients in multiple communities in and around Fort Bend County and Harris County. Call [phone] right now to have our attorney review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.

Overview of Arbitration in Harris County

Arbitration Laws in Texas

Texas Family Code § 601(a) establishes that upon written agreement of the parties, the court can refer a suit for dissolution of a marriage to arbitration. The written agreement is required to state whether the arbitration will be binding or nonbinding, and the court will render an order reflecting the arbitrator’s award when the parties agree to binding arbitration.

Under Texas Family Code § 6.6015(a), when a party to a suit for dissolution of a marriage opposes an application to compel arbitration or makes an application to stay arbitration and asserts that the contract containing the agreement to arbitrate is not valid or enforceable (notwithstanding any provision of the contract to the contrary), the court is required to try the issue promptly and can order arbitration only if it determines that the contract containing the agreement to arbitrate is valid and enforceable. Texas Family Code § 6.6015(b) states that the court’s authority to stay arbitration or refuse to compel arbitration on any other ground provided by law is not affected by a determination that a contract is valid and enforceable.

Texas Family Code § 6.6015 notes that this section does not apply to:

  • a court order;
  • a mediated settlement agreement;
  • a collaborative law agreement;
  • a written settlement agreement reached at an informal settlement conference; or
  • any other agreement between the parties that is approved by a court.

Binding arbitration procedures may be governed by the Texas General Arbitration Act (Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code §§ 171.001-171.098) and/or the United States Arbitration Act (more commonly referred to as the Federal Arbitration Act or FAA, Title 9 of the U.S. Code).

Issues Decided in Harris County Divorce Arbitration Cases

Many of the same issues that spouses would settle through litigation in court can be resolved in arbitration. Some of the common kinds of issues that can be settled in arbitration include, but are not limited to:

  • Alimony Maintenance;
  • Property Division;
  • Child Support;
  • Child Custody;
  • Parental Relocation; and
  • Divorce Decree Modifications.

Arbitration Resources in Texas

How to Use Arbitration and Other ADR Procedures in Texas Family Law | TexasBarCLE — View the full text of a paper presented at the State Bar of Texas’ 26th Annual Advanced Family Law Course. The document describes family law arbitration as “a quasi-judicial, adjudicatory proceeding.” Section VII covers combination mediation and arbitration agreements.

What are the pros and cons of divorce arbitration? | CustodyZen — CustodyZen is a website that helps divorced parents communicate the issues related to raising their children using web-based tools to share and change schedules, coordinate parenting strategies, and share contacts, photos, and documents. On this section of the CustodyZen website, you can learn more about how arbitration differs from mediation and what some of the advantages and disadvantages are. You can also learn more about arbitration differs from going to court.

Find an Arbitration Lawyer in Houston, TX

If you are preparing to enter arbitration to resolve a dispute in your divorce in Southeast Texas, it is in your best interest to make sure you retain legal counsel. [firm] helps individuals in the greater Houston area, including several communities in Harris County and Fort Bend County.

Michael Sydow is an experienced divorce attorney in Houston who is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law and a member of both the Houston Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association. He can provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call [phone] or fill out an online contact form to set up a free, no obligation consultation.